These days, there are a few midsize off-road pickup trucks that are supposedly ready to tackle the toughest terrain right out of the box. Two of best on the market are the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison and Toyota Tacoma TRD. Although both trucks look the part on paper, what really matters is how they handle in the real world. Hence, TFL put together a “Texas Off-Road Shootout” to see how these two titans compare when pitted against each other on a muddy off-road course.
While each truck was specifically designed to take on all that the Great Outdoors has to offer, each also brings its own unique character.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison was created as a collaborative effort between Chevrolet and AEV (American Expedition Vehicles). It starts as a regular Colorado ZR2 and adds some additional bits to make it even more rugged in the rough stuff. It’s powered by either the 3.6L V6 LGZ gasoline engine making 308 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, or the 2.8L four-cylinder LWN turbo-diesel that makes 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm.
Then we have the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which was created for dirt duty by Toyota’s in-house performance division. Under the hood is a 3.5L V6 gas engine making 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque.
Both trucks are upgraded with burly suspension pieces, beefy differentials, a high-riding stance, and all-terrain tires. However, the Colorado ZR2 Bison stands apart for its tough boron-steel off-road armor, which protects all the vitals underneath the body, while the Tacoma has an additional half-inch of ground clearance over the Colorado.
The video goes in-depth on both vehicles, checking out the powertrain, drivetrain, interior goodies, and all relevant specs. With all the numbers covered, TFL goes for it on the off-road course, which includes a deep mud hole, a technical articulation section, and to top it off, an ultra-slick hillclimb section.
The Bison and Tacoma trade blows on each of these challenging tests, but at the end of the day, the Bison looks to be the winner on the hillclimb as the Tacoma struggles to find grip. Chalk it up to the Bison’s knobby tires and selectable lockers to take home the W.
Regardless of who walks away victorious in this test, the 11-minute, 15-second video is definitely worth a watch if you love off-roading pickups.